Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. AAP

PM pays tribute to the Taylors

DURING his Nambour High days, prime minister Kevin Rudd opposed Kari Taylor in a debate on the existence of God.

Yesterday, he was paying tribute to Kari and her husband Allan's Christian service, as the Coast prepared to farewell the couple today.

Mr Rudd said Australians had been shocked and distressed by the Taylors' death.

“Allan and Kari had stopped their car simply to help their daughter Ashleah, who had been caught in a traffic accident. Tragically, that act of parental love and responsibility led to them losing their lives in circumstances that are beyond any person's worst nightmare,” Mr Rudd said.

“Something in this incident has deeply touched the spirits of Australians and I know that across the nation, thousands of Australians will have the family and friends of Allan and Kari in their thoughts as they say farewell today,” the PM said in a tribute released to the Daily last night.

“Both Allan and Kari were leaders and supporters of their communities, and people of strong and active Christian faith.

“I know there are hundreds of individual stories of the difference that Allan and Kari made in the lives of young people on the Sunshine Coast.”

Kari's father, Bob Sherwell, remembers his daughter debating Mr Rudd on the existence of God.

She was on the affirmative team and he on the negative.

“He beat her,” Mr Sherwell recalled. “He was always good with words.”

Mr Rudd said Kari was a “talented musician, a gifted singer and an inspirational dance instructor”.

He said Mr Taylor “embodied so much of the spirit of the Sunshine Coast community - he was a surfer, a larrikin and a great lover of life who was always there to help and support kids in the community as a principal, a chaplain and a mentor.

“On behalf of all Australians I extend my condolences to Ashleah and her fiance Mitch and to Kallan; to Bob and Fran Sherwell; and to the many other family members, friends and members of the community deeply affected by this loss, in particular in the Woombye, Palmwoods, and Chevallum school communities,” Mr Rudd said.

“Today, we pay tribute to Allan and Kari and their lives of service to the community. Their memory will long endure.”

Kari and Allan Taylor will be farewelled at a service at the Suncoast Christian Centre, Woombye, at 11am.

Parking will be available at the centre, as well as at Woombye State School and the Big Pineapple, if needed.

Doors to the auditorium will open at 10.15am to accommodate the huge crowd expected.